Centegra Health System is experiencing increased cases of influenza and flu-related hospitalizations. For the safety of hospital patients and visitors during this flu season, Centegra administrators are asking for cooperation in implementing a visitor restriction policy. Effective Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, the policy includes no visitors under the age of 14 years old on any unit and limited visitation to immediate family members over the age of 14 in obstetrics and pediatrics. There also will be a limit of two visitors per patient at a time on all units.
Those who are feeling sick with a runny nose, sore throat, or fever, should not visit friends or loved ones in the hospital. Hospital visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Centegra Health System recommends that people age six months and older receive vaccinations for influenza as the No. 1 way to prevent the spread of flu. Annual flu vaccinations help prevent the forms of the flu that are expected to be most common in any given year.
People at high risk for developing serious flu complications include:
- Children younger than five years
- People 65 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
People with long-term medical conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
- Blood disorders
- Morbid obesity
- Kidney and liver disorders
Flu symptoms often begin suddenly. They include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks but some people will develop complications such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening and result in death. People who think they have the flu may also see a doctor within the first days of the onset of symptoms. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medication that can shorten the life of the flu and prevent complications.
In addition to the influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people take the following precautions to prevent the spread of the flu:
- Avoid close contact.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Be physically active.
- Manage your stress.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat nutritious food.
- Centegra offers influenza vaccinations for $30 at Centegra Hospital-McHenry, Centegra Hospital-Woodstock and at Centegra Physician Care and Centegra Immediate Care locations.
For more information about influenza vaccinations at Centegra, call 877-CENTEGRA (236-8347)